Dozens of monetizable mechanics and interactions make this game engaging, entertaining and – publishers expect – long-term profitable.
As a survivor of the zombie apocalypse, you must forage for food, shelter, tools and, above all, weapons. You soon discover, though, that the zombies have weapons, too. And armor. And they’re breeding. And they’re coming at you from all directions because virtual reality puts you right in the middle of this armageddon.
Such is the world of Undeads Metaverse, a groundbreaking game developed in collaboration with Unicsoft and Whimsy Games. Its development team is led by international executives with diplomas from Stanford and MIT and extensive backgrounds in companies like PayPal, Gameloft and Animoca Brands.
Building an audience
Still, even the most meticulously planned in-game economy needs to be user-tested. Will the gamers actually accede to these rules?
“After the game is live, we’ll keep monitoring the flows and adjusting some settings to improve economy balance if and when necessary,” says Undeads chief marketing officer Ash Hodgetts. “All rewards are distributed via vesting contracts and lock-up periods of up to 48 months from the token-generating event.”
All this presupposes that there is a market for blockchain-native games.
“The Web3 gaming industry needs strong products to accelerate its growth,” Hodgetts says. “Currently available games are too far from traditional gaming, where people get emotional stimulation via sound, graphics and overall quality. Simple games with weak economies leave the players unengaged, and we believe that AAA-class games will boost the industry.”
The approach to designing Undeads’ in-game economy takes its cues from inflation and deflation. The trick is to make the in-game economy balanced and efficient without veering into oversupply. Undeads augments its in-house economy design team with expertise from industry veterans BrightNode and Machinations.io.
Developing the game economy structure required this all-hands-on-deck approach because of the 1,000-plus in-game items and assets, each with unique properties, value and other parameters. This process took around three months, while Chainlink is used as the oracle to securely connect smart-contracts with off-chain data and services.
Maybe it could’ve gone faster without all those partners, but the result might not have been as good. Combining all the competencies of in-house and external teams was an iron-sharpens-iron exercise. Everyone’s work was double-checked to ensure that all blind spots were removed and the greatest number of ideas were proposed and discussed and either put in production or set aside in pursuit of creating the best game possible.
It’s a fair question: Technologically, does gaming even need Web3? Need, maybe not. But distributed ledger technology offers some advantages, and somebody – why not Undeads? – will be the first to prove out as blockchain’s answer to MMORPG still-going pioneer EverQuest.
“We designed dozens of reward-producing mechanics that required over 20 smart contracts to be developed to make it work,” says Hodgetts, noting that Certik served as the auditor for the smart contracts. “Additionally, we are paying much attention to fun-first gameplay to ensure the long-term engagement of players.”
Undeads offers a range of Web3 benefits, including digital ownership rights for playable assets, cost-efficient transactions and play-to-earn opportunities to acquire crypto.
The digital ownership rights, though, are predicated on an NFT market. While it’s difficult to get too far in the gameplay without buying NFTs, it’s a whole lot more immersive with them. Still, there is an on-ramp for players who are new to the whole crypto space. Access without NFTs is limited to a free-to-play mode allowing the player to explore the world and interact and other players.
“Traditional gamers can join the game and start playing without NFTs, but they will need to pay a small fee – which is still cheaper than purchasing an NFT – for creating non-NFT characters in the game,” says Hodgetts. “This character will have limited capabilities and no access to real earnings, so it’s just an entry point for new non-crypto players to get them engaged into both Undeads Metaverse and Web3 together.”
Once the character gains some game experience, its player will be able to pay a crypto fee to mint an NFT asset and tokenize the hero.
Still, the role-playing survival game is not the whole product; there is also Undeads’ virtual reality social hub, a metaverse powered on the new Unreal Engine 5.1. The social hub will be loaded with multiple VR games with reward-producing activities, competitions and mini-games to enable the players to interact in the metaverse.
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